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Famous Novelists of All Time

Famous Novelists of All Time

By Rose Salas

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1. 缃楄疮涓
2. 鏂借愬旱
3. 鍚存壙鎭
4. 鏇归洩鑺
5. 骞虫睙涓嶈倴鐢(鍚戞伜鐒)




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Religion, history and military science along with poems and songs became widely regarded as the 鈥淐lassics鈥 that shaped our literature. Novels, however, were regarded as insignificant and less formal until the Ming Dynasty. During those times, novels and fictions became famous because of their believable world that tackles exploration of social, philosophical and moral problems and presented as a pinnacle of Chinese Literature.


Here are the 5 most influential novelists that contributed to Chinese Literature and still significant until today:


1. Luo Guanzhong (缃楄疮涓)

TP 201902 Art 03
Luo Guanzhong, the author of Romance of the Three Kingdom


Luo Ben 缃楁湰, also known as Guanzhong, is famous because of his novel Romance of the Three Kingdom. It is considered as one of the best classical novels in the entire history. The story is partly mythical, legendary, and historical. It covered actual events, like the Yellow Turban Rebellion, records of the Three Kingdoms during Jin Dynasty and poetic works during the Tang Dynasty. Even though the novel is not historically accurate, it still became well-known because of its believable characters and scenes that deal with morality and politics.


2. Shi Nai'an (鏂借愬旱)

TP 201902 Art 04Shi Nai鈥檃n, the author of Water Margin


Shi Nai鈥檃n wrote the Water Margin (姘存祾浼), which is one of the Four Great Chinese Classical Novels. The story tells about a group of outlaws at Liangshan Marsh as they campaign against the Liao Dynasty and Fang La after they have been granted amnesty. The story is also based on the exploit of an outlaw named Song Jiang, and 36 outlaws making it as the fictional depiction of the present during that time.


The novel became so famous that various translations and adaptations from novels to films and comics across China and Japan are based on this novel.


3. Wu Cheng'en (鍚存壙鎭)

TP 201902 Art 05Wu Cheng鈥檈n, the author of Journey to the West


Wu Cheng鈥檈n is a novelist of the Ming Dynasty. He is known to be the author of the novel Journey to the West, that tells about the journey of pilgrims to India and back. It is a humorous novel that reflects various religious themes and depicts the travel of monk Xuanzang.The novel was adapted to various sequels, movies and even the notable Japanese media franchise, Dragon ball.


4. Cao Xueqin (鏇归洩鑺)

TP 201902 Art 06
Cao Xueqin, the author of Dream of the Red Chamber


Novelist Cao Xueqin is best known as being the author of the Dream of the Red Chamber during the Qing Dynasty. The novel tells an episodic record of the life of two wealthy clan, romantic rivalry friendship and their declining fortunes. The story is also believed to be a mirror of the rise and downfall of the Cao Xuegin鈥檚 life and the Qing Dynasty.


5. Xiang Kairan

TP 201902 Art 07
Xiang Kairan, the author of The Peculiar Knights- Errant of the Jianghu


Xiang Kairan, also known as Pinjiang Buxiaosheng, became the first notable Wuxia Writer through the novel The Peculiar Knights-Errant of the Jianghu. The wuxia genre is a fictional Chinese adventure of a martial artist in ancient China. It鈥檚 a popular genre of the 20th century that influenced Chinese opera, films, video games and manhua. It became popular that numerous novelists became successful, like wuxia novelist Jin Yong.


What makes our novelists significant in today鈥檚 literature?


1. A Mixture of Vernacular and Classical Chinese in Chinese Fiction

Our literature was often written in Classical Chinese, which is mostly known only to scholars, poets and government officials; making it limited to the well-literate. But through the 4 Classical Novels鈥 use of both Classical Chinese and Vernacular Chinese, literature became more well-known and legalized vernacular literature across China. This also encouraged a wider range of Chinese readers to be exposed in various philosophical, social and moral problems.


2. Standardized Language
The novel Dream of the Red Chambers was written in vernacular language. It is one of the few novels that encouraged 20th century lexicographers to use the language in establishing a vocabulary as the standard Chinese; which is in mandarin dialect and the novel in promoting vernacular writings.


3. Conventions of Storytelling
The novels presented promoted the convention of storytelling, not just in the use of both vernacular and classical Chinese, but also in the 鈥渋ronical鈥 connection of a title and its content. The novel Romance of the Three Kingdom, Water Margin and Journey to the West-all ironically represent their titles. For example, The Romance of the Three Kingdom doesn鈥檛 depict the dynastic order, but the collapse of the kingdom. Water Margin on the other hand, presents heroism with 鈥渟elfishness and brutality鈥. The same with Journey to the West- which refers to a serious spiritual conquest, but presented to comical and indecent humor.


4. Seminal Influence
The five-given novelists presented their novels as a semi-biographical, semi-historical, and semi-fictional. These make their nobles relatable during their time, since their story is referring to an existing event, history and person. It reflects the history, society, family and politics of the literature and administrative rulers.


5. Author to Author influence
The popularity of these novels and novelists became famous because of their unconventionality. It also influenced numerous authors of their time and modern authors through numerous adaptations and sequels. These novels were adapted into multiple novels, films, manhua, manga, visual novels, and even modern games across the world.

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